10 Sep 2004

Fiji's Ilisoni Ligairi to be witness in coup court martial

7:26 am on 10 September 2004

The leader of George Speight's gunmen during the Fiji coup, Ilisoni Ligairi, will be a prosecution witness in the court martial of soldiers allegedly involved in the coup.

The Fiji Sun quotes a spokesman for the military legal service as saying Mr Ligairi will be brought in for the court martial because some evidence will need his presence.

Over 60 soldiers are facing charges of mutiny, misprision of treason and unlawful confinement.

Mr Ligairi, a former special forces soldier in the British SAS, has already served his sentence for his role in the coup and was freed in March this year.

After his 1987 coups, Sitiveni Rabuka appointed Mr Ligairi to set up and train the Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit which carried out the 2000 coup and mutinies.

Commodore Bainimarama disbanded the unit after the November 2000 mutiny which was aimed at assassinating him and more than 40 soldiers including their leader, Captain Shane Stevens, are in jail.